Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review- Southern Rose by Mary Winter

Southern Rose
by Mary Winter
Nov. 2009
Historical (civil war)/ f/f-bi
35k words-Novella- $3.50

Buy it Pink Petal Books, OmniLit

When Agnes' husband is killed in action during the Civil War, she's forced to reveal not only her sham marriage, but also her past and her feelings for her housemate Rose.

Rose is not the shy Southern flower Agnes believes her to be. She has to show Agnes how to act like a "proper" window, and the true extent of her feelings.

Southern Rose is a sweet period story with some seriously hot loving going on.

It’s civil war times and Agnes, whose husband is fighting in the war, has taken in recently widowed Rose as a housemate. Both settle into life sharing the house while going about their daily jobs and life. Agnes is a seamstress and Rose is a teacher. Slowly though, both start feeling an attraction to each other and do have a brief sexual encounter. Social propriety, fear of what the other might think, and the fact that Agnes is still married, keep them from actually going for it, though.

As time goes on, they keep having mini sexual encounters but don’t really openly acknowledge their feelings to each other until one day when Agnes gets the message that her husband has died in the war. It would seem that both are home free to express their love at that point, but that throws an even bigger kink into the works. See, Agnes has been harboring a secret about her unsavory past and struggles with wanting to be really honest about who she is, and keeping up the “proper” life she has managed to finally create for herself.

I thought this is a light, easy story about two women who both have had prior experiences with women but who’ve loved men as well. Rose experimented sexually with, and loved her best friend growing up. And Agnes had many experiences in her former life. Both are a bit vulnerable, but find they have more in common than they thought.

Although not too deeply developed or characterized because we don’t really get much on where each woman is coming from except for snippets of their past, both Rose and Agnes are still compelling characters.

Rose really loved her husband who died, but not in the war. She also lost her only child and still grieves deeply for both of them.

Agnes is a tough, open, forward thinking woman who’s made her own way and run her own business. Her arrangement with her husband was just an arrangement for both to get on in society since she’s not been a “lady.” She also has her own money to buy property, but needed a man to make it all legal for her to use, and he was into men. Not exactly proper ways of being back then, so it was a nice deal for both.

The sexual encounters between Agnes and Rose were really hawt. I mean really hawt, even though there was some coolness shown by both women after the first few encounters. They’re not too graphically written, but you can feel these two really want each other and it’s nicely written.

The only negative thing was that something was missing for me in the emotional area. I kept trying to figure out what it was because it’s very subtle. I think it’s that I didn’t feel a real, deep, intimacy between the women. Yes, you can feel that they love each other and they have a great sexual connection, but that sweet part of falling in love with little intimate moments that happen outside of sex, were missing for me.

It felt more like had these two women not been thrown together by circumstance, it could have been any other woman that each might have fallen for. I really wanted to feel that Rose had to have Agnes because she was Agnes, and that for Agnes, Rose was THE one and only. It’s a very difficult thing for me to define, but I did wish more moments of them connecting on an emotional level outside of sex as a lead up to their finally being able to be together.

Purely on a technical level, I think there were more than a few times where the protagonists names were switched making some scenes a bit confusing. Other than that the writing is very smooth and nice.

Still though, I really liked Southern Rose and definitely recommend it. It is a sweet story of love between two women without too many hitches in it to foil them.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- wow, really steamy, but sweet f/f sex. Double headed dildo use. (civil war time wood dildos).

Grade B+


Cathy in AK said...

I think I read an excerpt of this story somewhere. It sounded like a goood read. I tend to like that era.

Your note at the end regarding Civil War wood dildos encouraged two thoughts: Man, I hope they were sanded and polished REALLY well, and, I bet you never see one of THOSE on Antiques Roadshow : )

MB (Leah) said...

Cathy, it was a pretty good read. I like stories from that time as well and this one was rather sweet.

And yeah, color me totally naive, but it would have never occurred to me to think that they had dildos back then. I'm sure they did though, humans being what they are. snort.

And this one was double headed. Two for the price of one!

The thing is though, that I still can't picture how those women were both attached to it while making face to face love? I don't even see that possibility with today's miracle silicone double headed dildos.

I bet you never see one of THOSE on Antiques Roadshow : )

I'll bet there are collectors somewhere who have some. It's just not the kind of thing you see talked about on the History Channel. LOL

Oh the things books make me ponder. LOL

Cathy in AK said...

Oh, I'm not surprised at Civil War-era equipment, but I'd imagine one had to check for splinters before use : )

In Sarah Waters's Victorian era book "Tipping the Velvet," one of the wealthier characters had a leather-wrapped something (can't recall what was underneath) strap-on. I believe it was double-headed too. I also think the women were face to face. Being Sarah Waters, I'm sure her research was accurate : )

I'm just as sure that you're right about there being collectors out there somewhere. And you never know about the History Channel. They can get pretty racy ; )

MB (Leah) said...

In Sarah Waters's Victorian era book "Tipping the Velvet," one of the wealthier characters had a leather-wrapped something (can't recall what was underneath) strap-on.

I really need to read her. Keep hearing so much about her books.

kirstensaell said...

Allow me to direct you ladies' attention to this here website. Nary a splinter to be seen...

MB (Leah) said...

Heh, Kirsten, "real" woodies! Woot!

They look really nice. Wonder though if cooties would infiltrate the wood after a while and many washings?